Following our earlier post on zip-tied luggage at airports, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous writes:
I just got back from a trip to a skeet competition in San Antonio and we dealt with the new TSA gun transport “rules”. Here is how lax and sad the situation is.
Traveling from Jacksonville to San Antonio on Delta we checked our shotgun cases as always, signed the card, locked the case, and they were taken. The new CAGPT sticker was put on the cases as well.
Upon arrival at San Antonio where they usually are delivered to the Delta special baggage office, they just came out on the regular belt. First time that has ever happened! No zip ties, nothing.
On our return trip from San Antonio to Jacksonville we checked in as usual, signed the card, locked the bags, etc. Then we went behind a TSA special door (this is how it always happens in San Antonio), where a TSA rep does the scan for substances on the case. Then they took the cases and sent us on our way to the regular TSA line.
On our arrival at Jacksonville, a baggage handler brought our bags out and handed them to us. A woman from the special baggage office then came running out insisting he not give them to us and that they had to come to her office.
Then she put a huge zip tie on each case. She didn’t even even check our ID’s or baggage tickets to confirm they were our cases. Zip ties in place, she dismissed us.
By the way, the zip ties were massive – but it was easy to cut them even with side cutters when we got home, so they would be readily cut with just a multitool like a leatherman, but probably not a small pocket knife.
I pointed out to the rep that what she had done was worthless. Where was the monitoring to prevent us from removing the zip ties before leaving the airport? I mean really, without monitoring, this whole thing is your typical government stupidity designed to make a symbolic gesture that makes no one any safer and just makes things a pain in the butt.
This is also typical of how different airports — even with the same airline — have different practices regarding firearms handling. At some airports shotgun cases come out just like golf clubs, sometimes like regular luggage.
In some airports you have to pick up from the special luggage counter. In others, checking in your shotgun cases is simple and they’re put on a regular belt, In other airports you have to go behind closed doors with TSA. We travel to San Antonio a lot as that is the home of the NSSA and NSCA for Skeet and Sporting Clays at the National Shooting Center.
A baggage rep also told us they’re considering banning all transport of ammunition as another effort to prevent problems.
I can foresee a future where they keep pushing back the airport perimeter, but no matter what they do, any area people are forced to congregate will present an opportunity for some crazed nut to do something horrible. What’s needed are consistent protocols and professional monitoring to ensure consistent practices are undertaken. However, our government is usually incapable of doing anything with the words “consistent, safe, and professional” in the same sentence.